Serbian church plans 15,000-plot cemetery
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent April 24, 2014 11:02PM
Updated: May 26, 2014 6:24AM
MERRILLVILLE — St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church plans a cemetery at its Mississippi Street property that would serve all Orthodox churches in the region and would eventually include 15,000 plots.
Mike Suvajac, vice president of the St. Sava executive board, told the board of zoning appeals on Wednesday that the cemetery would be on 15 acres at the northwest corner of the church’s property, 9191 Mississippi St.
“There is a need for an Orthodox cemetery here. There are easily 10-plus Orthodox churches in the Lake County area. We have two cemeteries in Illinois, in Gurnee and Libertyville, but they’re both 100 miles away,” Suvajac said. “Our members really want this.”
Town zoning director Dorinda Gregor said the cemetery needs a zoning exception and would be accessed through an interior road off Mississippi Street.
No one objected to the proposed cemetery at the BZA meeting, but it did get a letter from a man who recently bought 98 acres in the nearby industrial-commercial area and feels it’s inappropriate to have a cemetery at that location.
Gregor said the cemetery would be 3,000 square feet from the manufacturing area and 1,300 square feet from The Preserve subdivision.
She said town Councilman Shawn Pettit, D-6th, a resident of The Preserve, “has no problem with the cemetery.”
The BZA approved the zoning exception with the conditions that the church get its plan approved by the state, agrees to plant shrubbery or build a fence along Mississippi Street and provides security for the cemetery.
The proposal still needs to be approved by the town council.